In New Zealand we haven't always had the most favorable view of Australian music. It might be some kind of hangover from the 1980s. All we knew then was Icehouse and INXS, which was then followed by Silverchair and Thirsty Merc. It all just seemed like bland, derivative pub rock.
Sitting here in Brisbane at the Big Sound music showcase, I think it is time that view gets a review.
Last year, after attending Big Sound, I made up a playlist called "Good Aussie Tunes". To begin with I added some bands I'd seen that I liked - like Super Wild Horses, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and Straight Arrows. All three put on a great show. I then added other things I heard that I liked, like Twerps, Beaches and Dick Diver. Despite the high proportion of terrible band names, they were all really good. In fact, some are really good. There is definitely a preference for music that rocks the pub, but it isn't 'pub rock'.
This year, as Big Sound is about to start, I'm researching who I'm going to go and see. There are 120 bands and to be honest most of them I've never heard of - but discovering cool new stuff is the order of the day.
Tonight I think I will check out Dune Rats, Mining Boom, Glass Towers and later Robert Foster formerly of the Go Betweens. I am sure I will get diverted along the way to see some other things too. The former acts I know pretty much nothing about, but they sound interesting.
Last year Robert Foster was actually one of the keynote speakers - it was very interesting and he revealed a lot about his band and it's history. This year the keynote is Billy Bragg. He is on this morning so I'd better get along to that. I wonder what he will say about the new Aussie PM.
by Ben Howe